Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Malibu Satchel Tutorial

Malibu Satchel Tutorial by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

I made my first version of this little satchel over a month ago, and though I normally write a tutorial while I'm making a project, in this case, I'm glad it didn't work out that way. Living with this bag for a month gave me a chance to find both the strengths and weaknesses in the design so that I could make some necessary adjustments. I added an interior pocket since I was tired of having to fish around for my cell phone in the first version. I also added more interfacing to the lining and the flap, giving the bag a lot more stability. There were a few other minor changes, and they all make this satchel much better than the original. At 9 x 10 x 3", this bag is just the right size -- big enough to hold all my stuff without making me feel like I have a suitcase strapped to my side. I also love having both a removable cross body strap and a small top handle to choose from when I'm on the go. I've already carried my new satchel around with me for a week, and yeah, I really love it. I've decided to call this one the Malibu Satchel, since it has the carefree vibe of that lovely beach community.

For this version I used Robert Kaufman's Railroad Denim with a medium stripe in Indigo as my main print. The heavy fabric makes a good exterior, and the width of the stripes is spot on. Sarah Watts' gorgeous Monarch lion print makes an incredible lining and flap accent, kind of like having a classic children's book illustration on your purse. I used Netorious in Roadster from the Cotton + Steel basics for the inside pocket and an off-white cotton webbing for the straps. My hardware accents are from Joann Fabrics, and this time I went with an antique brass finish which nicely complements the denim. I ended up using circle rings for the side loops, but you can substitute d-rings or rectangular rings if you like. The thread is Aurifil #2220, a light salmon color which is a perfect match for the lining and a fun contrast to the exterior. And yes, it all coordinates perfectly with my Tsuru Have-It-All Wallet!

1/2 yard of denim for bag exterior
1/2 yard of lion print for bag lining and flap accent
1/4 yard of salmon net print for interior pocket
1/2 yard of batting for interfacing
2 yards of off white cotton webbing, 1" wide
2 d-rings, circle rings, or rectangular rings for the side loops
2 lobster clasps for the cross body strap, 1" wide
1 magnetic closure for the flap
coordinating thread
adhesive basting spray

(2) 10 x 13" rectangles from denim for main body exterior
(2) 10 x 13" rectangles from lion print for main body lining
(4) 10 x 13" rectangles from batting for main body interfacing (exterior and lining)
(1) 7 x 10" rectangle from salmon net print for pocket
(1) 5 x 7" rectangle from batting for pocket interfacing
(1) 7 x 10" rectangle from denim for exterior flap
(1) 2 1/2 x 10" rectangle from lion print for exterior flap accent
(1) 9 x 10" rectangle from lion print for flap lining
(2) 9 x 10" rectangle from batting for flap interfacing
(1) 1 x 11"cotton webbing for top handle
(2) 1 x 3" cotton webbing for side loops
(1) 1 x 50" cotton webbing for cross body strap (adjust this as needed for your height -- I'm almost 5'11" tall!)

1. Fuse the 10 x 13" batting pieces to the wrong side of the main body exterior and lining pieces using the adhesive basting spray. Cut a 1 1/2" square out of the two lower corners of each piece (see photo).

2. Fuse the 5x 7" piece of batting to half of the pocket piece on the wrong side of the fabric.

Fold the fabric in half with right sides together and sew 1/4" from the edge around the folded piece, leaving a 4-5" gap on the long open side. Turn the piece right side out, tuck the raw edges into the gap, press, and sew 1/8" from the edge all around the piece.

Place the pocket on the right side of a main body lining piece, 2" from the top (13" long) edge and 3 1/4" from the (10" long) sides.

Sew twice (1/8" and 1/4" from the edge) along the sides and bottom of the pocket, backstitching at both ends and leaving the top open.

3. Insert half of the magnetic closure on the right side of the main body exterior, centered 4" from the top (13" long) edge.

4. Pin or clip the exterior pieces right sides together and sew along the sides and bottom, leaving the cut out squares open. Backstitch at the beginning and end of each side. Repeat with the lining pieces, but leave a 6" gap in the bottom of the lining for turning later on.

5. Box the lower corners of the exterior and lining. Pinch the open squares in the lower corners together so that the side seams meet. Sew 1/4" from the edge at least once -- I like to reinforce by doing it twice. Repeat for all three of the other open corners on the exterior and lining body pieces. Turn the exterior piece right side out.

6. Make the flap. Sew the exterior main flap and accent piece together along a 10" side (see photo). Fuse the batting to the wrong side of this piece. Top stitch 1/8" above and below the seam.

7. Fuse batting to the wrong side of the flap lining piece. Insert the other half of the magnetic closure centered about 1 1/2" from the top of the flap (look at this carefully if you're using directional fabric).

8. Use a round object like a cup as a guide to trim a curved section from the top corners of your flap lining and the bottom corners of your flap exterior (see photo). Place flap lining and flap exterior right sides together and sew 1/4" around the sides and bottom, leaving the top open and backstitching at both ends. Clip around the curves without cutting into the seam. 

Turn the flap right side out, pushing out the corners with a chopstick. Press and topstitch 1/8" from the edge around the sides and bottom of the flap.

9. Place the exterior side of the flap against the back side of the main body exterior (the side without the magnetic closure). Center it (it should be about 1 1/2" from the side seams) and line up the open raw edges of the flap with the top edge opening of the bag. Baste 1/4" from the raw edges to hold the flap in place.

10. Place the main body exterior inside the main body lining with right sides together. Be sure that the interior pocket is facing the flap lining where it's attached to the exterior main body. Clip or pin around the top edge, matching up the side seams first. Sew 1/2" from the edge.

11. Pull the bag right side out through the hole in the lining and give it a good pressing. Tuck the raw edges of the lining into the gap and stitch just along the edge to close it up, backstitching at both ends. Topstitch 1/8" from the edge of the bag opening all the way around, keeping the flap out of the way as you sew.

12. Make the top handle. Fold the short ends of the 1 x 11" handle piece under about 1" on each side.

Place the short folded end 1 1/2" from the side of the flap and 1 1/2" from the end of the flap that's sewn to the bag (see photo). Sew a 3/4" square with an X inside to hold it in place.

Repeat on the other side of the handle.

13. Make the side loops. Take a 1 x 3" piece of webbing and fold a short end under about 3/8". String your hardware of choice (d-ring, circle, or rectangle) onto the webbing. Fold the entire piece in half so the short ends meet, tucking one short end inside the 3/8" fold (see photo). Sew 1/8" from the 3/8" fold to hold this in place.

14. Place the side loop on one of the exterior side seams with the hardward pointed up toward the bag opening. Center the loop on the side seam about 3/4" from the opening. Sew 3 lines, 1/8" apart, from the lower short end of the loop, backstitching over each line once. Repeat on the other side of the bag with the other side loop.

15. Make the crossbody strap. Fold a short end of the long strap under 1/2". String on a lobster clasp and fold the short end under 1/2" one more time. Sew 1/2" from the end fold, backstitching at least twice over the line. Repeat on the other end of the strap with the other clasp. Attach the crossbody strap to the side loops, and you're done!

Malibu Satchel Tutorial by Heidi Staples of Fabric Mutt

If you make a Malibu Satchel of your own, please share! Tag it #malibusatchel on Instagram and be sure to tag me too @fabricmutt. I hope you enjoy using this little bag as much as I do!


  1. This bag is awesome! Love the fabric choices and love he size! Can't wait to make one.. Thanks for the tutorial.

  2. Very cute! Thanks for the tutorial :)

  3. Heidi this is AWESOME! I'm so excited. Your tutorial is wonderful - I am itching to make one of these for myself (though realistically it won't happen for a while!). In the meantime I am mentally putting aside fabric to use for it - I'm thinking a red denim I have in my stash. Now I just need to decide on my fabric accent and lining...

  4. You've really nailed it. Top of my to do list. Thank you!

  5. Fantastic tutorial!! Thank you for sharing :)

  6. It looks so good, and such a well written tutorial. I just need to find some bag hardware and then I can't wait to try this :-)

  7. I love this bag design! The railroad denim looks so good!

  8. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful tutorial!!! I can't wait to make one of my own! I already have the fabric picked out!! I may have to make several.

  9. This is such a great bag!! Thanks so much for the tutorial Heidi!

  10. Heidi
    That's such a cute bag. Have your tried using Annie's Soft and Stable rather than batting? I made a bag, as a gift for a friend last year, and tried it for the first time. It's light-weight and firm, and I like it better than batting when making bags. I love the striped denim-so retro. I may have a piece in my stash-I'll have to check as this bag looks like a great substitute for the messenger bag I was planning to make. Thanks for sharing.

  11. This is fantastic! I have never made a bag before but do believe I am going to attempt this.

  12. I love the bag and so appreciate your wonderful tutorials, thank you!

  13. This looks like an awesome bag! I love the handle options and the style of the bag in general is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing it with us!
    Julie @ The Crafty Quilter

  14. I searched at Joann's for the denim but no luck. Where did you get yours? I love everything about the bag and was hoping to duplicate it!

  15. Nice design & fabric. Thank you for the tutorial!

  16. This is such an awesome bag! I need to make me one.
    Thank you for a great tutorial Heidi.

  17. This is awesome! I have bookmarked your blog so that I can sew this, plus your Ellie Travel Case. Thanks for the great tutorials.

  18. This is so cute!!! Adding to my "must sew" list. Thank you for sharing your tutorial with us.

  19. Thanks for the great tutorial. I really like the alternate bag handle on top.
    Here's mine: http://runningwithrocket.blogspot.com/2014/09/malibu-satchel.html

  20. Not only is the bag delicious, but the web site is delightful!

  21. I just discovered your blog via Pattern Pile. I love this bag, thanks for the tutorial, great pictures and clearly detailed. I follow you on twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and as you say, I joined the pack and follow you on GFC. I leave the link to my blog if you want to visit. I'm glad I found you !!!
    Marisa from, http://passionetcouture.blogspot.ca/

  22. Cute! Thanks for the tutorial!!

  23. Totally Adorable, Heidi! Thanks for taking the time to tute it!

  24. Can you just use fusible batting instead of batting + adhesive spray?

  25. I absolutely LOVE this pattern but the finished product is a little too small since I'll be using it for school and I need to fit my laptop in it. To make the final dimensions more like 14x12x6, how would I alter the pattern?

    Would this be correct:

    (2) 13 x 20" rectangles from denim for main body exterior
    (2) 13 x 20" rectangles from lion print for main body lining
    (4) 13 x 20" rectangles from batting for main body interfacing (exterior and lining)
    (1) 7 x 13" rectangle from salmon net print for pocket
    (1) 7 x 7" rectangle from batting for pocket interfacing
    (1) 15 x 13" rectangle from denim for exterior flap
    (1) 2 1/2 x 15" rectangle from lion print for exterior flap accent
    (1) 14 x 12" rectangle from lion print for flap lining
    (2) 14 x 12" rectangle from batting for flap interfacing

    1. Did this work for you? I am trying to make mine to fit a 17" laptop how did you adjust the measurements?

    2. It worked pretty well! I love my bag! I can get you the measurements I used so you can see what I did. I had to alter these some. Make sure that when you cut the squares in the corner you make it however deep you want it divided by 2. The original satchel is 3 inches deep because each side of the square is 1.5 inches. When you box them it makes a 3 inch wall. I didn't figure that out until after the fact and is probably my least favorite thing about the bag. It's still usable though and like I said, I absolutely LOVE it! I posted a picture on my Instagram and tagged it with #malibumessenger if you want to see how it turned out.

    3. Here are the dimensions I used...

      (2) 13 x 20" rectangles from denim for main body exterior
      (2) 13 x 20" rectangles from lion print for main body lining
      (4) 13 x 20" rectangles from batting for main body interfacing (exterior and lining)
      (1) 18 x 13" rectangle from salmon net print for pocket
      (1) 9 x 13" rectangle from batting for pocket interfacing
      (1) 10 x 17" rectangle from denim for exterior flap
      (1) 2 1/2 x 17" rectangle from lion print for exterior flap accent
      (1) 12 x 17" rectangle from lion print for flap lining
      (2) 12 x 17" rectangle from batting for flap interfacing

      I used this to help me: +3x+7

      Also, just as a warning, I broke like 3 needles trying to sew the webbing to the bag. It's understandable because you're sewing through 7 layers of material, so unless you have a heavy duty machine, I would suggest hand sewing.

    4. Thank you for those measurements, they worked for the bag I made!


  26. I love love love this bag but would like to make it bigger so it would fit a 17" laptop. How would you suggest changing the measurements for a larger bag? If possible I would like it to be wider as well. Let me know, Thank you for the great idea!

  27. Hello!
    I just made my first Malibu Satchel for my Niece using Nancy Drew fabric.
    She loves Nancy Drew.
    Thanks so much for an easy, fun bag tutorial!

  28. Thank you sew much! Wow, what an easy tutorial! I was looking for a pattern for a satchel to make for a niece who just started college. Your directions were easy to understand and I loved having the pictures to follow and make sure I was doing things correctly. You are an inspiration and I appreciate your sharing this project!

  29. Im so happy with the one I made, thank you so much

  30. This is awesome. My wife wants me to sew her a purse that is basically a downsized version of this. So thanks for the clear design aid.

    I'll probably sketch up a pattern and print if off so I don't mess things up. :p I may skip the interior lining as well since I'm just making with ripstop. I may opt to double up the ripstop, though. We'll see. I really love making new things. :D

  31. il tutorial e' molto chiaro e la borsa bellissima .

  32. Would there be a way to add a divider? I hate having my "stuff" clump together when I pull out my wallet!!!

  33. What size seams did you use 3/8?

    1. My seams are always 1/4" unless I tell you otherwise! :)


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